December 3, 2008
By Alton K. Marsh
Cirrus Design could start deliveries of the Cirrus Vision SJ50 single-engine personal jet as soon as 2010 but no later than 2012, company officials said during a live Internet press conference Dec. 3.
Asked if the price of the jet will remain at approximately $1.3 million, company officials said recalculations are in progress, but no details were released. The final cost depends on what happens to the economy during the approximately two years remaining before deliveries begin.
Before the end of 2008 Cirrus is expected to file papers with the FAA to begin the certification process. However, certification will not be pursued at this time in Europe. In Europe, aircraft weighing more than 4,400 pounds pay higher user fees to use the air traffic control system, and Cirrus President and CEO Alan Klapmeier wants clarification on that prior to seeking certification.
The maximum gross weight of the Vision stands at present at 6,060 pounds, with a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 pounds. During the press conference, numerous steps were outlined that can or have reduced the weight of the Vision test aircraft. It has now flown for 120 hours.
Those steps include reducing the sweep of the V-tail. The tailcone of the engine can now vector thrust upward by 12 degrees to improve rotation performance and reduce pitch changes caused by altering the power settings.
At the moment it appears the aircraft will have a range of 1,000 to 1,400 nm, depending on altitudes and power settings, and a full-fuel payload of 400 pounds. The aircraft is expected to routinely operate with only the pilot aboard, although the payload can be increased to as much as 1,200 pounds by reducing the fuel load.
Test pilots have had no difficulty reaching the aircraft’s cruse speed goal of 300 ktas, and the prototype’s top speed is about 319 ktas. At its 250-knot economy cruise, the Vision burns about 44 gallons an hour.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
Giving an injured U.S. Marine a taste of the freedom of flight set a Mississippi pilot on a course to do much more.
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